Angus Proposes iPod Tax... Balanced With Greater Fair Dealing Protections

from the is-it-a-trade-worth-making? dept

As was expected, Canadian MP Charlie Angus has introduced a bill that would expand Canada's "you must be a criminal" blank media tax (they prefer "levy," but it's a tax) to iPods and other media players. However, to "balance" that out, he's also proposing a change to copyright law that would make Canada's "fair dealing" laws more flexible. Expanding fair dealing is definitely a necessary and important move, but it seems unfortunate that it appears to be coupled with this idea of taxing people just because they might make use of unauthorized content.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
    identicon
    Simon, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 4:05am

    Well it makes *slightly* more sense to put it on MP3 players than blank CD's - at least MP3 players usually have MP3's on them, unlike the majority of CDR's.

    Still, it's trivial to purchase from the US and just avoid the tax altogether.

    Of course, the biggest problem in all this is who actually benefits? Such a small proportion goes to the artists this is supposed to support it is almost laughable.

     

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    Ben (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 4:14am

    Re: Might Use

    "Expanding fair dealing is definitely a necessary and important move, but it seems unfortunate that it appears to be coupled with this idea of taxing people just because they might make use of unauthorized content."

    This is the problem though. We know from many studies (and frankly common sense) that have been posted here and elsewhere, that these days the vast majority of the millions of iPods are already filled "unauthorized content".

    In Canada, because of current law we have thankfully been exempt from the kind of legislation (though they have and are trying) and litigation that the US has had. I am not big on propping up business models with taxes, but I can see this as being much further protection for consumers at relatively little cost. If that cost is a more expensive iPod/MP3 player (which is a non-necessary item) and the few people who only have legally ripped/purchased content paying the tax for others, then it really doesn't seem to bad a trade off for proper fair dealing, considering the situation.

    Hell, I pay for health care taxes and have never been in the hospital, but I won't be complaining as it gives me the protection to know that I won't be caught broke with a hospital bill I can't pay like in the US (or sued like you can be for infringement in the US).

    That isn't to say that I don't see the dangers as well though. The definition of what constitutes a music player, how much the levy will be, and what are the fair dealing options are, will be very important if this is to work.

     

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      abc gum, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 4:24am

      Re: Re: Might Use

      Music insurance - that's a good one.

      While you're at it, why not start paying television insurance, or how about news insurance. Because we all know that some people are getting "unauthorized content".

      It's not all that much different from the insurance you pay to Vinny, you know - because it would be a shame if anything bad happened ... You haven't had a fire yet, but you never know.

       

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        Ben (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 4:37am

        Re: Re: Re: Might Use

        "While you're at it, why not start paying television insurance, or how about news insurance. Because we all know that some people are getting "unauthorized content"

        There is a huge divide between music sharing and TV/news. The vast majority of people don't download TV and the vast majority of TVs aren't playing unauthorized content. However the vast majority of MP3 players are. Same with news. Situation may warrant a different approach. And if that approach give greater protection for legal uses and expands legal use, is the offsets greater than the loss of a small cost on MP3 players? I think it may be.

         

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          NCR, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 8:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Re: Might Use

          What is this "vast majority" you speak of? The "vast majority" of people who own ipods bought their tracks from iTunes. See how I did that?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Re: Might Use

          "The vast majority of people don't download TV and the vast majority of TVs aren't playing unauthorized content. However the vast majority of MP3 players are."

          This simply isn't true. I pay for my music. Not all of us are illegal music downloaders (although I still don't think downloading bootleg music is a crime worthy of the enormous civil punishments meted out by juries on behalf of the goons at the RIAA). If I was Canadian, why should I pay a sin tax when I buy an MP3 player to compensate for what someone else does?

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 7:32am

      Re: Re: Might Use

      Leave health care out of it. Spread your propaganda bullshit elsewhere.

       

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 9:04am

      Re: Re: Might Use

      "Hell, I pay for health care taxes and have never been in the hospital, but I won't be complaining as it gives me the protection to know that I won't be caught broke with a hospital bill I can't pay like in the US (or sued like you can be for infringement in the US). "

      However, this "mp3 insurance" will not help you at all if you're caught accidentally infringing. It's the equivalent of paying for health insurance, and then getting the full bill when you finally need to go to the hospital. I wonder if you'll be complaining then...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 4:20am

    No. Reduce copyright length, and only THEN piss about with more taxes.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 8:47am

      Re:

      copyright should be 3 years for software 5 for music 10 for books thats all you get if you can't make money in that time, do something else

       

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    Ben (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 4:49am

    I can understand that there may be pitfalls to this. I am concerned about the details, and realize they are very important if this is to be postive. I am not saying this is the solution to all the problems, both business model and consumer protection sides, but I do think it warrants more discussion and shouldn't be dismissed offhand. Today the media lobbyists are constantly trying to remove protections from consumers all over the world (ACTA for instance) and have been successful more often than not (DCMA/French Three Strikes) and it is nice to see something introduced that would actually INCREASE protections, even if it is potentially flawed. This is quite a change from what has been going on lately.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 5:47am

      Re:

      The fair dealings nonsense is only marketing puffery to get people to go along with a bogus plan. It will probably not even matter when record companies sue, it will make no difference. The harm caused by this unnecessary tax that goes to a bunch of lawyers giving them more resources to sue far outweighs any alleged fair dealings proposal they would put forth. It's sad that a business that can't survive simply asks for a government handout.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    I think if this is extended to the removal of DRM then the levy might be justified.

     

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    Ben (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 5:58am

    "Fair Dealing Provisions within the Copyright Act

    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should amend section 29 of the Copyright Act in such a way as to expand the Fair Dealing provisions of the act; specifically by deleting section 29. and inserting the words,

    29. Fair dealing of a copyrighted work for purposes such as research, private study, criticism, news reporting or review, is not an infringement of copyright.

    29.1 In determining whether the dealing made of a work in any particular case is fair dealing, the factors to be considered shall include,

    (a) the purpose of the dealing;
    (b) the character of the dealing;
    (c) the amount of the dealing;
    (d) alternatives to the dealing;
    (e) the nature of the work; and
    (f) the effect of the dealing on the work."

    This is what will be changed. The important part is:

    "Fair dealing of a copyrighted work for purposes such as ...."

    This give huge amount of interpretation allowed in courts and open up many fair dealing rights that don't currently exist.

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 7:02am

    Thankfully, our Industry Minister struck this down today:

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=2691226

    "I think it's totally nonsensical. We cannot have a strategy of greater access to Internet and to have a better digital economy in this country and, at the same time, have this NDP plan to tax iPods and to tax BlackBerrys and other portable devices." - Industry Minister Tony Clement

     

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      Anshar, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      Translation of the Hon. Minister's comments:
      "I think it's totally nonsensical. We cannot capitulate to entertainment industry demands and U.S. pressure to impose DMCA-style copyright laws and, at the same time, have this NDP plan to expand fair dealing in such a broad and consumer-friendly way." - Industry Minister Tony Clement (translated from the original Conservative double-speak by Anshar).

      Thankfully, our Industry Minister is a complete idiot and not fooling anyone.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 7:54am

    29. Fair dealing of a copyrighted work for purposes such as research, private study, criticism, news reporting or review, is not an infringement of copyright.

    They forgot personal backups

     

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    Brendan (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Not Worth the Trade

    The expanded fair dealing isn't enough.

    We already have the levy on blank media, and it doesn't do a damned thing to stop complaints from the US to make our copyright laws worse. I strongly doubt a new larger levy would achieve anything different. Except for digging deeper into our pockets up front. And still demanding our government betray us.

    Honestly, I'm a bit surprised Angus proposed this. The fair dealing makes sense, but I thought he knew better than the tax.

    Why not just propose that good half? If the levy is so ridiculous (as Clement says) let's just do the fair dealing part.

     

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    Brian Jackson, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    Levy isn't to compensate for "unauthorized" downloading

    I want to clear up what I think is a misconception here. When I interview the Canadian Private Copying Collective, they make it very clear that in their view the levy they collect doesn't allow users to engage in "unauthorized downloading." The levy is actually to compensate artists for legal private copying - for example, from a CD to a hard drive, or onto another burned CD. The theory here is that when you buy a song on a CD, you don't have the rights to copy it elsewhere. The levy supposedly allows for this right.

    It's not this levy that is protecting Canadians being sued by the music industry. It is the Copyright Act itself. If you read this case file (Michael Geist directed me to it), it shows quite clearly that courts have decided downloading songs from the Internet for free is legal if it is only for personal use: http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/cyberlaw/criadoe33104opn.pdf

    So the CPCC, who collect the levy, say copying music from a CD to an iPod is currently illegal in Canada. By its logic, this levy would make that legal.

     

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      Anshar, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 9:14am

      Re: Levy isn't to compensate for "unauthorized" downloading

      "When I interview the Canadian Private Copying Collective, they make it very clear that in their view the levy they collect doesn't allow users to engage in "unauthorized downloading." The levy is actually to compensate artists for legal private copying - for example, from a CD to a hard drive, or onto another burned CD. The theory here is that when you buy a song on a CD, you don't have the rights to copy it elsewhere." - Brian Jackson

      Of course they say/write/publicize that position. For context, here is an excerpt from the CPCC's own "about" page at www.cpcc.ca:

      "Established in 1999, CPCC is an umbrella organization that represents songwriters, recording artists, music publishers and record companies."

      Draw your own conclusions.

       

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      crade (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:11am

      Re: Levy isn't to compensate for "unauthorized" downloading

      Exactly, it is to compensate artists for stuff no one (probably even the artists) think they should get paid for in the first place: People legally using the media they already bought and paid for.

      Not only that, but then they also make format shifting illegal.

       

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        crade (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re: Levy isn't to compensate for "unauthorized" downloading

        If this levy could actually protect our personal rights as you claim, it would be well worth paying for. It doesn't. Show me where it protects our right to format shift the media we have purchased?

         

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    lets not forget coffin makers

    they deserve to get money as long as the coffins and tombstones they make last
    and we can make dead people pay fo rhtis too
    start up the lawsuits RIAA/CRIA on dead people to recover your money now

    ANGUS is a musician wannabe, and a writer like hte NDP leader
    and the liberal leader

    all the top 3 parties are now shille dout
    ENJOY ACTA canada
    the americans can fuck you in hte ass now

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    NDP quote

    "Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party will continue to work to ensure that copyright laws are updated to protect artists while ensuring access to these amazing works. "

    notice word amazing there
    PROVE it
    thats like advertising bias if ever i saw anyhting.
    the solution is to drop term lengths to sane levels NO MORE then ten years
    put a copy tax on the sale of the books
    put a copy tax on the sale of a cdr
    put a copy tax on blanks
    put a copy tax on hard drives
    put a copy tax on flash drives
    put a copy tax on on internet
    put a copy tax on on libraries
    put a copy tax on printers
    put a copy tax on scanners
    put a copy tax on binoculars
    put a copy tax on cameras of all kinds
    put a copy tax on crayons
    put a copy tax on paint
    put a copy tax on inks
    put a copy tax on electricity for using the above
    put a copy tax on monitors
    put a copy tax on all tvs
    .....
    heck lets put one on pencils and pens
    and tape recorders and vcrs
    and goto peoples homes and search these dastardly people out to make sure they paid the tax
    and we can have harpers warrant less search and seizure laws to do this anytime you get mouthy and piss of the govt

     

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    Chris Brand, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    One problem

    The levy expansion is an actual private member's bill, and thus can become law, whereas the fair dealing expansion is just a motion, which, assuming it passes, would then have to be written up as a bill and then passed. So the anti-consumer part gets a head-start.
    I expected better from Charlie Angus.

     

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    DM, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:20am

    tax vs. levy

    It isn't a tax.

    Even though they're both fees added on top a good or service, a tax (properly speaking) goes to government, while a levy goes to non-governmental entities.

    This this new fee is not going to the government, but to artists supposedly impacted by file sharing, it should be called a levy.

    You wouldn't call a German Sheppards a Golden Retrievers, and vice versa, so don't call a levy a tax please.

     

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